LONDON – The Fondation Vasarely is an architectonic centre founded in 1976. The core of a project started by the artist Victor Vasarely, the building was conceived as a place for meeting, discussion and experimentation. A site for bringing together the visual arts, architecture and technology to create what the artist called “the polychromatic city of happiness.”
Recently the Vasarely Foundation has teamed up with Sotheby’s and Paddle8 to offer several outstanding works by its founder. Pierre Vasarely, president of the Foundation, moral right holder and universal legatee from the artist, explained the enduring influence of his grandfather’s work.
View of the Fondation Vasarely.
Would you say Victor Vasarely was ahead of his time?
In 1965 The Responsive Eye, the first major exhibition dedicated to Optical art and Kinetic Art was held at MoMA. It brought international recognition to the movement and conferred on Vasarely the title of the ‘Father of Op Art.’ Now that movement has become a part of art history, contemporary artists often refer to him as a visionary.
What is the history of the Vasarely Foundation and what work does it undertake?
Vasarely established the Foundation in 1966 to promote his ideas of “art for all” and of the “city of tomorrow,” a city in which art harmoniously blends with architecture. The first action of the institution was to prove that the ‘new towns’ could have been more human, far more beautiful, far more pleasant to live in, if elementary aesthetics had been integrated into their designs with taste and with love. The objective of the institution was no other than aesthetic.
What does the future hold for the Foundation?
Our building in Aix-en-Provence, in front of the Sainte Victoire mountain so important to Cezanne, was classified as a Monument Historique in January last year. Having been conceived as a forward looking place, the Vasarely Foundation will continue to be an authentic ideas laboratory for future generations – for artists, scientists, industrialists, researchers, architects, urban planners and students – to ensure the continued existence of the name, the work and the ethos of its founder.
View of the Fondation Vasarely.
How has this collaboration with Sotheby’s and Paddle8 come about?
The 80 prints and multiples and two paintings offered in the sale belong to the Foundation and this collaboration is fundamentally the story of a friendship between Emmanuel van de Putte¸ Managing Director, Sotheby’s Belgium and myself.
I am also grateful to Nicolas Gitton from Paddle8, who has presented us with such a good platform to publicise our foundation. The Paddle8 sale coincides with a resurgence of international interest in Vasarely’s work, including an exhibition of masterworks by Vasarely at Sotheby’s S2 Gallery in New York. Sotheby’s has an ongoing relationship with the Fondation and has been instrumental in organizing both the Paddle8 sale and in raising awareness of Vasarely’s work.
What will the proceeds from the sale be used for?
All proceeds will go to benefit the institution, and to the restoration of some of the monumental works and the building.
Victor Vasarely: Op Star
Sotheby’s S2 Gallery
3 May–13 June
Enquiries: +1 212 606 7254